Summary: What does it mean? There was preparation the first arrival, so what's the important second arrival?
December 1, 2013
A chemistry professor at a major university tells the story of a young girl who wished to make some potassium hydroxide solution. She decided to throw a large lump of potassium into a bucket of water.
The professor, glancing in her direction, saw what she was about to do and hurried towards her. “What are you doing?” he asked.
She explained, and then he told her to stir the water in the bucket for five minutes before adding the potassium.
“Professor,” she asked with a questioning tone, “why stir the water and why must I do it for five minutes?”
The professor replied, “It will give me time to get out of the building.”
Some people anticipate an event without knowing precisely what will happen, and others with knowledge know what’s coming. The same is true with the arrival of Yeshua.
The selected scripture, Matthew 24:36 through 44 is a passage generally used to preach the second-coming of Messiah to earth. Depending on your denomination’s teaching or theory, you may have anticipations that differ greatly from your neighbors. It’s interesting that every belief about the “return” indicates vindication that a particular line of thought is accurate and Jesus will correct everyone else. Personally, I don’t worry about particulars of His return since I would rather be found doing what He said as a follower than judging whether or not He, Messiah, gets it right according to my version of theology. My theory won’t change what happens and I trust God will get it right. A dominate attitude among Christians is that Christ will return to judge everybody who doesn’t agree with me or my preacher. “Jesus and I will fix the world,” is the mind-set. Yet, John 12:47 quotes Yeshua’s words in part, “I have not come to judge the world, but to save the world.” In this passage, the Greek “kree’-no” is used for the English word “judge,” which means, in order of importance, “decide, condemn and punish.” Think of it this way; He will not come to condemn or punish those you disagree with, but to save them. Read the whole chapter of John 12 as a statement of purpose; most appropriate for a Christmas passage.
Humanity then and now expects military victory or force to be used to convince the world how to live. Arriving as a child born of a 13-year-old girl named Mary, falls a bit short of the military-leader idea. Yet, the kingship of truth was still a threat to occupying rulers of the time, and still is. As you heard last week, the Jews expected another David-type leader who was fierce in battle to bring back their perceived “glory days” as a nation. Is it not true that Messiah was greater than David? If you answered “yes,” then how is this possible since He gathered only 12 disciples and 70 apostles to change the world without lifting a single sword? But what happened to those “glory days” the Israelites expected from their Messiah? Will not days of peace and prosperity be with us all if only the world comes accept the Gospel of Truth and His example? Will not those be glory days? With two millennia to prove His teaching, the world still has not accepted His truth, but opting for man’s theories, social engineering and war. How is that working for us?
Even today some see His strategic plan as ineffective since we find no force or law demanding acceptance. But here we are, celebrating the birth and arrival of this non-violent purveyor of truth who gave His life instead of taking others in conquest. Perhaps it comes down to a choice by humanity to live in love or force, truth or man’s law, freedom or tyranny. Love turned violent is no love at all. Truth diluted by gossip is not truth anymore, and freedom overregulated is not liberty.
The arrival of Messiah the first or anticipated second time, seems to be met with the same skepticism or anticipation like the time of His birth. The early church expected Christ’s return before their generation passed. The children of that generation were surprised that he didn’t physically return for their parents. Like today, there was a wide range of belief. For those first Christians, scripture was disseminated by word-of-mouth, resulting in letters to churches, such as those written by Paul, to give stability to belief and to establish the workable code-of-conduct to those generations. These early Christians did things that were later called “heretical,” not because they had ill intent, but because their modes of worship in serving other gods were brought into the church. These rituals from pagan worship were known to them as worship, and in their minds, Master Jesus was the next “God” to be served. However, Messiah was not the next in a line of humanity’s gods, but carried truth to worshipers that the way to live in love was through Him, the very personification of truth. Stone gods had no ability to lead to anything, since they were neither alive in flesh or spirit, nor capable of bearing truth to anyone. Human creations are pale next to God’s work, including His Son.